A sudden onslaught was then made by both parties pouring, like an inundation, through the unfinished works into the fort. The savages, taken by Surprise, and many of them without their arms, were thrown into a panic. Many of them rushed out of the fort, leaving their guns in the houses behind. The Dutch followed close upon their heels, shooting them, and with keen sabres cutting them down. Just beyond the fort there was a creek. The terrified Indians precipitated themselves into it, and by wading and swimming forced their way across. Here they attempted to rally and opened fire upon the pursuing Dutch. The fire was returned with so much vigor that the Indians were driven with loss from their position. The assailants soon crossed the creek, and the discomfited Indians, in hopeless rout, fled wildly into the trackless wilderness.
In the impetuous assault the chief of the tribe, Papoquanchen, was slain, and fourteen of his warriors with four Indian women and three children Twenty-two Christian prisoners were recovered, and fourteen Indians were taken captive. The Dutch lost but three killed and six were wounded. The houses were all plundered by the victors. There was found in them eighty guns, and “bearskins, deerskins, blankets, elk hides and peltries sufficient to load a shallop.” Forty rolls of wampum and twenty pounds of powder were also taken. The colonists loaded themselves with such plunder as they could carry. The rest was destroyed.
The return of the victors with the rescued Christian captives, gave great joy at Esopus. We regret to record that, on the march home, there was one of the Indian prisoners, an old man, who refused to go any farther. Captain Crygier had him led a few steps out of the path and shot. In unfeeling terms the captain writes, “We carried him a little aside and then gave him his last meal.”
The remainder of the month of September was employed in sending out small scouting parties, and in protecting the farmers while gathering their harvests. Though the Esopus Indians were pretty thoroughly crushed by these disasters which had befallen them, they showed no sign of submission. It was estimated that not more than twenty-eight warriors, with fourteen women and a few children survived. And these were without homes and almost in a state of starvation. Still it was decided to fit out a third expedition against them to effect their utter overthrow.
It was thought most probable that the dispersed Indians would rally again within the fort at Mamakating, which had been captured and sacked but not as yet destroyed. It was perhaps left as a lure to draw the Indians to that point where they could be surrounded and annihilated.